2019 Audi A6 Experience: The first Audi A6 experience 2019: the power of ergonomic technology

The Douro Valley region outside Porto, Portugal is filled with postcard-worthy views of the Douro River, vineyards, and sleepy towns. Narrow roads, lower speed limits and a liberal spray of speed cams provide the perfect opportunity to take things easy and tinker with all the new tech features packed inside the 2019 Audi A6. Sadly, it’s less than ideal for spurs on in the new luxury cruiser.

However, there are small extensions, where you can really open up between cities. With Audi Drive Select in Dynamic, the new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 is powerful throughout the speed range with 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque on the click. That’s horsepower equivalent to the outgoing V6’s supercharged, but an extra 46 pound-feet of torque. The sporty sedan’s new dual-clutch automatic transmission boasts fast, timely, fully automatic gearshifts and an excellent manual transmission function. Audi says the combo will get the A6 all-wheel drive to 62 mph in just 5.1 seconds.

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A V6 engine with a mild turbocharged hybrid drives the new A6.

John Wong / Roadshow

The V6 will be the only engine on the market when the A6 goes on sale towards the end of this year. Audi says a four-cylinder model is coming, but the exact timing of its arrival has yet to be determined.

Fuel economy numbers aren’t available yet, but you can expect V6 numbers on par with 20 mpg in the current city and 29 mpg on the highway. Hybrids capture power through regenerative braking and power a more aggressive shutdown system, and electric assist is well integrated with no appreciable effects on brake feel or off-line performance.

Through the curves, firmer adaptive dampers and 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires keep the A6 confined and quick on its feet, and gliding confidently through shifts. Unfortunately, the Audi’s light steering tone remains, with no weight in the center, even in the dynamic setup. Public comments probably aren’t any better on cars bound for the US, as our cars will likely wear less aggressive all-season rubber.

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Adaptive suspension and wide tires provide adequate handling feedback.

John Wong / Roadshow

Just as the driving rhythm begins to develop, the 50 km/h speed limit sign always puts the party over. But switching Drive Select to Comfort puts the A6’s everyday road behaviors in the spotlight. The drivetrain is smooth in all situations and does not suffer from the jerky, low-speed behavior common on some dual-clutch gearboxes.

Quality ride over bumps is easy with the standard spring steel setup; All US models will use this, as well as a sport suspension that lowers the ride height slightly. Adaptive air suspension will be available in other markets, as will a rear steering system. An Audi spokesperson says air springs and fan-steering will be coming to the US, but on the more performance-oriented S6.

Inside, the new A6 is a little more spacious than its predecessor. All occupants enjoy comfortable, supportive seats, and rear-seat passengers get half an inch more legroom than before. The trunk provides 18.7 cubic feet of space to hold projects to the shop, enough luggage for a road trip or two sets of putters.

The interior mirrors the swoopy A7’s design, and incorporates much of the technology first seen in Audi’s flagship A8 sedan. The MMI control knob has gone as well as most of the traditional hard buttons, all of which have been replaced by dual MMI Touch Response capacitive touchscreens with haptic feedback. At higher trim levels, the top screen is 10.1 inches and the bottom screen is still a large 8.6 inches.

The top screen controls the navigation, the available Bang & Olufsen 19-speaker audio system and many other media. The lower screen usually contains climate seat temperature controls, and up to 27 shortcut buttons for radio stations or specific menus, but it will turn into a writing pad when entering a destination in the navigation panel on the top screen. Thanks to a larger surface area and software improvements, you can now type in full street and city names, rather than previous MMI inputs simultaneously. Fortunately Audi wasn’t too crazy and moved all the touchscreen controls. The scale is still handled by a good old handle – hooray!

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Up to three high-resolution displays can be found on the new A6.

John Wong / Roadshow

Audi Connect services enable Google Maps imagery and online destination search with voice, weather and Wi-Fi capabilities. Those who prefer handing infotainment controls to a smartphone will be happy to know that the latest MMI system still includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The only downside? Fingerprints. After half a day’s driving, both central displays were seriously stained, but in addition to this, the new MMI Touch interface is responsive, easy to use and capable of storing up to seven individual driver settings. If two high-resolution screens aren’t enough, you can also add the impressive 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit in place of the traditional gauge cluster for even more retina stimulation.

In addition to a stronger IT and entertainment game, the A6 receives a number of upgrades in terms of safety technology. Typical features like automatic emergency braking, 360-degree cameras with 3D viewing, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and parking sensors are all here, but improvements have been made to adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist systems. A new laser scanner joins a plethora of sensors, including ultrasound, radar and a camera, to help the car autonomously stay better centered in a lane and back off a bit if a car does happen to break into your lane – for example, in a tight construction zone.

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The only downside to all monitors? Fingerprints.

John Wong / Roadshow

The price won’t be available for a few more months, but look out for the A6 hitting dealerships around November, along with the new A7. The current V6-powered A6 orders $57,475, including $975 for destination, so use that as a baseline for MSRP estimates for 2019.

The eighth generation of the Audi A6 is poised to be the powerful technological engine for the mid-size luxury sedan segment. It also boasts attractive metal panels, efficient handling parts and the ability to provide the ultimate in ride comfort, a BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class should definitely be had on call.

Editor’s note: Roadshow accepts multi-day auto loans from manufacturers in order to provide registered editorial reviews. All car reviews that are registered are completed on our land and on our terms. However, for this feature, the manufacturer covered the travel costs. This is common in the auto industry, as shipping journalists to cars is more economical than shipping cars to journalists.

The judgments and opinions of the Roadshow editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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